NFDA Urges FTC to Strengthen Funeral Rule Following Burr Oak Cemetery Tragedy

August 6, 2009
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This week, the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) called on officials at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to extend the Funeral Rule, the federal regulations governing the nation’s funeral homes, to cover all sellers of deathcare goods and services. In a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, CAE, reiterated the association’s call for increased consumer protection under the Funeral Rule. Over the past 20 years, NFDA has been joined by consumer groups, such as AARP, in repeatedly petitioning the FTC to expand the Funeral Rule to cover all sellers of funeral goods and services, including cemeteries and crematories.

In her letter, Pepper states: “Any time the government extends regulations

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over sellers in an industry or profession, it has the effect of

curtailing the opportunity for abuse. If a seller is not licensed, not

inspected and not regulated by federal, state or local governments, it

operates in a free-for-all world where there is no accountability for

any transgression… NFDA, AARP and other organizations have documented

the harm that consumers have experienced… The FTC has refused to even

investigate these complaints by arguing (without any support or

evidence) that the practices are not pervasive throughout the industry.

As a result, cemetery and crematory consumers continue to suffer from

these reoccurring scandals.”

This letter comes on the heels of

the events surrounding Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Ill. In July,

Illinois authorities and the FBI launched an investigation into the

illegal exhumation of hundreds of bodies that were allegedly dumped in

a mass grave so that cemetery plots could be resold. Authorities report

that thousands of the dead remain unaccounted for by their families.

To read the letter sent to the FTC by NFDA in its entirety, please visit: http://www.nfda.org/index.php/funeral-profession/newsevts/1838?task=view.

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